The Marlins, despite all appearances, are not actually dead. In fact, at home, they're playing to a robust 19-6 schedule, and hitting the snot out of the ball. Oh and they're eking out signature wins and being pesky and young and good even after the loss of Jose Fernandez.
So we really should have seen this afternoon's game coming.
The Phillies dropped a heartbreaker here, but were only in the position to break our hearts because Marlon Byrd decided to play spoiler and hit a two run dinger in the 8th inning. Before that point (and the Utley double preceding it), the Phillies were absolutely stymied by Henderson Alvarez, he of the season ending no-hitter and the current 3.21 ERA with two (nearly three, counting today) shutouts. Alvarez is the kind of pitcher I actually hate: straight out of the 1970's with a sub 6 K/9 and decent-to-okay control, somehow he's been able to put together a little more than 2 WAR since joining the Marlins, a span of 160ish healthy innings. Blame good HR/FB rates and facing the Phillies I guess, who worked two walks and four hits (all singles), but nothin else in 7 innings.
Like I said, the bullpen for the Fish flagged a bit, and a Rollins walk, Utley double, and Howard sac fly off of AJ Ramos and Mike Dunn set up Byrd's home run to be the tying stroke. Cole Hamels allowed for this gutty comeback by keeping the potent Marlins offense to only three runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out six. One of the hits that was biggest was power young'un Marcell Ozuna's big fly in the 7th that netted the Marlins two would-be insurance runs.
So, as I said above, there were two comebacks today and we've already hit the one. The other was, sadly, the Marlins. Left to his managerial devices, Ryne Sandberg refused to use his closer in the road with a tie (because he is a literal monster), and instead put Jake Diekman out in the 9th to try and keep the game tied. Gee, what was it about Diekman...he's good against lefties but what is it with righties...?
Diekman in the 9th in a tie game faces 4 RHB. No.— Chuck D[odgson] (@Eric_Lindros) May 22, 2014
Haha, oh right he's garbage. Diekman actually managed to get two outs before loading the bases on a 2-strike swinging bunt by the always fleet of foot Reed Johnson. After that, Christian Yelich was kind enough to put Diekman out of his misery with a seeing-eye grounder that scored Ozuna from third. And all that was left was the griping.
Lmao at you if you didn't see that coming even when Johnson had 2 strikes— Marxism Mouse (@Hegelbon) May 22, 2014
Better days ahead whether we want them or not, as we gear up for the draft and watch the team change. But wow, this is some bad baseball, despite the best intentions of M. Byrd and company.